BREAKING NEWS: ‘This never happened. I don’t know why she’s saying it’: Joe Biden denies sexual assault allegation by former Senate staffer and asks National Archives to open his personnel files – but WON’T open his personal archive
- Joe Biden denied an assault allegation by a former Senate staffer
- ‘They aren’t true. This never happened,’ Biden said in a statement
- Biden told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski that he doesn’t remember any complaint at the time Tara Reade alleges it happened
- ‘I don’t remember any type of complaint she may have made. It was 27 years ago,’ he said on ‘Morning Joe’
- He said her claims should be investigated
- ‘At the end of the day, it has to be looked at. These claims are not true. They are not true,’ Biden said in a 20 minute interview on the allegation
- The presumptive Democratic nominee has been facing pressure to address an assault claim made by his former Senate staffer, Tara Reade
- She accused Biden of putting his hand down her skirt in a Congressional hallway in 1993
- This week she also suggested the media was burying her story with no major outlet except Fox News Channel inviting her to do an on-air interview
Joe Biden denied on Friday the sexual assault allegation made against him by a former member of his Senate staff.
‘They aren’t true. This never happened,’ Biden said in a statement made shortly before he was scheduled to appear on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe.’
It is the first time the former vice president addressed the allegation against him.
‘No. It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never happened and it didn’t,’ he told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski in a live TV interview.
He also said he didn’t remember any complaint Reade made.
‘I don’t remember any type of complaint she may have made. It was 27 years ago. I don’t remember, nor does anyone else that I’m aware of. The fact that that I don’t remember any complaint ever been made,’ he said.
‘This is an open book. There is nothing to hide,’ he said.
Biden also said there is no NDA or any kind of signed agreement with Reade.
Joe Biden denied on Friday the sexual assault allegation made against him by a former member of his Senate staff
Biden told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski that he doesn’t remember any complaint at the time Tara Reade alleges it happened
Tara Reade claims Joe Biden sexually assaulted her when she worked for his Senate office in the 1990s
The presumptive Democratic nominee was facing pressure to address allegations from Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer who said in 1993 Biden put his hands up her skirt and penetrated her in a Congressional hallway.
He declined to address Reade’s motives in bringing about the complaint.
‘I’m not going to question her motive or get into that at all. I don’t know why these she’s saying this. I don’t know why after 27 years this gets raised. I don’t understand that. I’m not going to go in and question her or attack her. She has a right to say whatever she says. I have a right to say, look at the facts, check it out. Based on the investigations that have taken place so far by the best of my knowledge by two major papers that interviewed dozens of my staff members, senior staff, that’s what they said. Nobody, this was not the atmosphere in my office at all. No one has said anything like this,’ he told MSNBC.
He said Reade has a right to be heard and her charge should be investigated.
‘Any woman should come forward and be heard and then it should be investigated. If there is anything that is consistent with what is being said and she makes the case or the case is made, then it should be believed,’ he said. ‘At the end of the day, it has to be looked at. These claims are not true. They are not true.’
‘Women are to be believed given the benefit of the doubt. If they come forward and say something that they said happened to them, they should start off with the presumption that they are telling the truth, then you have to look at the circumstances and the facts. The facts in this case never happened. There are so many inconsistencies in this case. Look at the fact. I can assure you it did not happen, period, period,’ he added.
He declined to attack Reade personally.
‘I’m not going to start questioning her motive. I’m not going to get into that. I’m not going to go after Tara Reade for saying these things. It is the facts? Do any of the things she said, do they add up? It never happened,’ he said.
Biden did not mention Reade by name in his statement but refers to her as his former staffer and says her claim should be ‘subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.’
‘While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny,’ he said.
Joe Biden spent 20 minutes on ‘Morning Joe’ Friday morning addressing Tara Reade’s allegation, which he repeatedly denied
Biden pointed out that no other staffer from his Senate office could verify her claims.
‘She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They – both men and a woman – have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organizations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one – not one – who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way – as indeed I would not have,’ he noted.
He said news organizations should probe Reade’s allegation, adding her story ‘has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways.’
‘Responsible news organizations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways,’ he said in his statement.
The New York Times, Washington Post and Associated Press conducted extensive investigations into Reade’s claim. The articles did not come to a conclusion either way on whether the assault occurred.
Reade claims that in 1993, when she worked in Biden’s Senate office, he pinned her to a wall in a Senate building, reached under her clothing and penetrated her with his fingers.
She has told multiple news outlets she complained to others in Biden’s Senate office at the time, filed a report to a Senate personnel office, and said she was demoted after the incident. She did not keep a copy of the report and one has not been located.
Reade told The New York Times at the time that Biden had publicly stroked her neck, wrapped his fingers in her hair and touched her in ways that made her uncomfortable.
She made her allegation of sexual assault on March 25, in a podcast interview.
The former vice president was getting pressured by Democrats to personally address the allegation. His campaign repeatedly denied it but Biden had not spoke on it.
In addition to his interview on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ Biden put out a statement, which runs over 1,000 words, denying Reade’s allegation
Tara Reade told The New York Times’ media columnist on Wednesday that she hasn’t been asked to do a sit-down interview on her allegations against Joe Biden by any of the major mainstream news networks
His campaign has also been questioned on why it won’t open up his Senate archives, which are at the University of Delaware and will become public two years after he leaves public life.
Biden said the archives would not contain any relevant information.
‘There is a clear, critical part of this story that can be verified. The former staffer has said she filed a complaint back in 1993. But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint. The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files. It is the practice of Senators to establish a library of personal papers that document their public record: speeches, policy proposals, positions taken, and the writing of bills,’ he said.
But Biden said the National Archives would hold employee records of the Senate and he requested the national depository search for any such record.
‘There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be – the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices. I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there,’ Biden said.
Biden’s statement, which runs over 1,000 words, emphasizes his work on women’s issues, including his sponsorship of the Violence Against Women Act.
Around the time Biden launched his presidential campaign, several women came forward to say they felt uncomfortable when the former vice president would do things like squeeze their shoulders or touch their hair. Biden eventually apologized for his behavior and vowed to be more mindful in the future.
But Reade is the only woman to detail an assault allegation against Biden, who has emphasized his work for women’s issues
Joe Biden statement on sexual assault allegation
April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every year, at this time, we talk about awareness, prevention, and the importance of women feeling they can step forward, say something, and be heard. That belief – that women should be heard – was the underpinning of a law I wrote over 25 years ago. To this day, I am most proud of the Violence Against Women Act. So, each April we are reminded not only of how far we have come in dealing with sexual assault in this country – but how far we still have to go.
When I wrote the bill, few wanted to talk about the issue. It was considered a private matter, a personal matter, a family matter. I didn’t see it that way. To me, freedom from fear, harm, and violence for women was a legal right, a civil right, and a human right. And I knew we had to change not only the law, but the culture.
So, we held hours of hearings and heard from the most incredibly brave women – and we opened the eyes of the Senate and the nation – and passed the law.
In the years that followed, I fought to continually strengthen the law. So, when we took office and President Obama asked me what I wanted, I told him I wanted oversight of the critical appointments in the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice and I wanted a senior White House Advisor appointing directly to me on the issue. Both of those things happened.
As Vice President, we started the “It’s on Us” campaign on college campuses to send the message loud and clear that dating violence is violence – and against the law.
We had to get men involved. They had to be part of the solution. That’s why I made a point of telling young men this was their problem too – they couldn’t turn a blind eye to what was happening around them – they had a responsibility to speak out. Silence is complicity.
In the 26 years since the law passed, the culture and perceptions have changed but we’re not done yet.
It’s on us, and it’s on me as someone who wants to lead this country. I recognize my responsibility to be a voice, an advocate, and a leader for the change in culture that has begun but is nowhere near finished. So I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago.
They aren’t true. This never happened.
While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.
Responsible news organizations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways.
But this much bears emphasizing.
She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They – both men and a woman – have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organizations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one – not one – who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way – as indeed I would not have.
There is a clear, critical part of this story that can be verified. The former staffer has said she filed a complaint back in 1993. But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint. The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files. It is the practice of Senators to establish a library of personal papers that document their public record: speeches, policy proposals, positions taken, and the writing of bills.
There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be – the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices. I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there.
As a Presidential candidate, I’m accountable to the American people. We have lived long enough with a President who doesn’t think he is accountable to anyone, and takes responsibility for nothing. That’s not me. I believe being accountable means having the difficult conversations, even when they are uncomfortable. People need to hear the truth.
I have spent my career learning from women the ways in which we as individuals and as policy makers need to step up to make their hard jobs easier, with equal pay, equal opportunity, and workplaces and homes free from violence and harassment. I know how critical women’s health issues and basic women’s rights are. That has been a constant through my career, and as President, that work will continue. And I will continue to learn from women, to listen to women, to support women, and yes, to make sure women’s voices are heard.
We have a lot of work to do. From confronting online harassment, abuse, and stalking, to ending the rape kit backlog, to addressing the deadly combination of guns and domestic violence.
We need to protect and empower the most marginalized communities, including immigrant and indigenous women, trans women, and women of color.
We need to make putting an end to gender-based violence in both the United States and around the world a top priority.
I started my work over 25 years ago with the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. As president, I’m committed to finishing the job.
In March, when major news outlet started doing reporting on the story his deputy campaign manager and communications director, Kate Bedingfield, put out a statement.
‘Women have the right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false,’ Bedingfield said.
The campaign also provided news outlets with a character witness: Marianne Baker, an executive assistant to Biden from 1982 to 2000.
‘In all my years working for Senator Biden, I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period – not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone,’ Baker said in a statement, provided by the campaign.
‘I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade’s accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager,’ Baker continued.
‘These clearly false allegations are in complete contradiction to both the inner workings of our Senate office and to the man I know and worked so closely with for almost two decades,’ Baker added.
Meanwhile, Reade spoke Wednesday with The New York Times’ media columnist Ben Smith about what looked like uneven media treatment in comparison to women who have made accusations against conservatives including President Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Joe Biden, the Democrats’ presumptive nominee, was under pressure by the party to personally address the allegation against him
She said major networks ‘are not offering to put me on TV – they’re just doing stories. No anchors, no nothing like that.’
Reade’s initial story was told by a podcast and publications that were friendly to Bernie Sanders’ side of the Democratic Party.
It was first told to journalist Katie Halper for her ‘Katie Halper Show’ podcast on March 25.
Reade was then interviewed by Hill.TV and Vox.
Halper’s friendly to Sanders – who was still in the race at the time. The Intercept, another publication that’s friendly to Sanders, also did early reporting.
Reade, too, was supportive of Sanders in tweets – allowing the progressive-versus-moderate Democratic split displayed in the last two presidential primaries to taint the Biden accuser’s claims.
Since then, Business Insider has produced reporting that corroborates Reade’s claims.
In her initial interview with Halper, Reade said the assault occurred after she was told to deliver a gym bag to the then-senator. Reade said she tracked down Biden on Capitol Hill and he remembered her name.
‘And then we were alone. And it was the strangest thing. There was no, like, exchange really, he just had me up against the wall,’ she said.
She said she was wearing a work skirt, but no pantyhose.
‘He just had me up against the wall and the wall was cold,’ she said. ‘His hands were on me and underneath my clothes. He went down my skirt and then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers. He was kissing me at the same time,’ she said.
She said that when she ‘pulled back,’ Biden ‘looked annoyed.’
Reade said Biden said to her, ‘Come on man, I heard you liked me.’
‘He implied that I had done this,’ she told the podcast host.
At first Reade didn’t want to mention the other quote that got stuck in her head, but then she told Halper what it was.
‘You’re nothing to me,’ she claimed the senator said to her. ‘Nothing.’
Reade shared her interview with Halper on her now-locked Twitter account adding, ‘Please stay in Bernie.’
Biden’s inaction has been putting female surrogates in tough positions.
Soccer star Megan Rapinoe – who previously supported Biden’s primary rival Elizabeh Warren – appeared on Instagram Live with the ex-vice president and his wife Jill on Thursday and was excoriated for not asking about Reade.
‘You’ve always been my hero. Why didn’t you ask him about the sexual assault allegations? I’m really disappointed in what I thought you were,’ one Instagram user lamented.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at a reporter Thursday morning for pointing out her very different reaction to assault claims waged against Kavanaugh versus Biden.
‘Well let me just say, I respect your question, and I don’t need a lecture or a speech,’ Pelosi said. ‘I have complete respect for the Me Too movement. I have four daughters and one son, and there’s a lot of excitement around the idea that women will be heard and be listened to.’
‘There is also due process,’ Pelosi said.
She previously said she was ‘satisfied’ by Biden’s response to the allegations.
Pelosi endorsed Biden for president earlier this week.
Stacey Abrams, who’s likely on the list of female vice presidential picks, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a formal 2020 hopeful, have also gotten heat for their support of Biden.
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